Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Tonight I watched two documentaries about Myrnmar (Burma) and the democracy movement against the brutal military dictatorship there. The first, BURMA VJ, follows the efforts of a small group of underground reporters with handheld video cameras as they attempt to document a 2007 uprising led by the monks. The people are suffering from famine, ethnic cleansing, poor medical access, no freedoms, political repression, torture, and worse. The second, CROSSING MIDNIGHT, focuses on the plight of ethnic minorities (one-third of the nation) as they flee from military oppression (mostly in the countryside), and the efforts of a small group of doctors and teachers who have established a medical/social-servive compound in Thailand and who cross the border to provide medical care (often via backpacking) and other social and educational services. Both documentaries are riveting and heartrending, and they open a small window into the internal affairs of a terrible regime. I heartily recommend these films to anyone interested in international affairs, and more specifically, the plight of the Burmese people. I am lucky to have about a dozen Burmese living near me. I talked with one today (I think he was ex-military) who has been my neighbor for about three years, and he said they were very truthful.